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5 Data over opinions

Article originally published in March 2024 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in March 2024.

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A good growth marketing strategy uses data to guard against opinions, feelings, emotions and bias. With a combination of both quantitative and qualitative data growth teams can bring together the what and the why in order to make more informed decisions.

Data should inform all aspects of your growth marketing programme including:

  1. How your team is tracking towards growth goals and KPIs
  2. Prioritising high impact work when choosing what to work on
  3. Identifying your best customer acquisition channels
  4. What is and isn’t working at an individual experiment level
  5. Monitoring experiment cadence
  6. Reporting on a weekly/monthly/quarterly learnings
  7. Building a predictive growth model
  8. Gathering customer insights

Data-informed, not data-driven

Whilst we want to ensure our growth investments are backed by data, data is primarily a means to gaining insights into user behaviour and preferences, but it is not the only means. Marketers must recognise and guard against the biases that can lead us to interpret data poorly. Confirmation bias, for example, shows that as humans we have a tendency to focus on data that confirms our hypotheses whilst over-looking data that could oppose them.

Additionally unlike in consumer businesses, in B2B we often won’t have large enough sample sizes to run statistically significant AB tests, but that doesn’t mean we can’t run an effective growth experimentation programme and use data to identify positive signals that our activities are moving in the right direction.

You will never have perfect data so must get comfortable making bets without all the data. At Growth Method we prefer to be data-informed rather than data-driven.

Evidence guided

As a result of leading product and engineering teams at the likes of Microsoft and Google, Itamar Gilad believes there are 2 kinds of companies – opinion-based companies, and evidence-guided companies.

Opinion-basedEvidence-guided
Rely on opinionsRely on evidence
Hide uncertaintyEmbrace uncertainty
Focus on output metricsFocus on outcome metrics
Prioritise planning and executionPrioritise hypotheses and idea evaluation
Plans dictated by smart people making blind betsPlans rooted in data, logic and evidence
A planning mindsetAn experimentation mindset

You can read more about this here but the data over opinions mindset sits firmly within the evidence-guided company.

To summarise

A good underlying data system is required to achieve efficient/sustainable growth – so know where overspending and underspending, to remove waste. Trim a lot of the waste.

Growth marketing strategy principles

  • 1 Focus over diversification

    “Our 2023 marketing strategy is to invest in Twitter organic, Linkedin paid ads, content marketing, SEO and email”. Some practitioners call this spray and pray marketing, Emily Kramer calls it random acts of marketing. Whatever you call it, this isn’t a growth marketing strategy, this is a list of random tactics and channels. The worst… Read more

  • 2 Process over tactics

    “Growth has nothing to do with tactics and has everything to do with process. Silver bullets don’t exist, you need a growth machine.” Brian Balfour Look inside many functions within a business – sales, finance, research & development, IT – there is often a process discipline that doesn’t exist in traditional marketing teams. Conversely, look… Read more

  • 3 Always-on assets over one-off campaigns

    Let’s run a campaign? No. Your growth marketing strategy should focus on building assets that can deliver compound growth over time. One-off marketing programs, initiatives and campaigns should be avoided at all costs. One-off marketing campaigns If you or your team do one-off activities, such as any of the following, stop now: No successful company has been… Read more

  • 4 Impact over activity

    A growth marketing strategy should prioritise impact over activity, which typically means being aligned to business revenue. At Growth Method we believe every marketing function should contribute to revenue and should should be part of the core revenue engine, alongside sales. “Position marketing as a strategic growth lever for the company. Know the math for… Read more

  • 5 Data over opinions

    A good growth marketing strategy uses data to guard against opinions, feelings, emotions and bias. With a combination of both quantitative and qualitative data growth teams can bring together the what and the why in order to make more informed decisions. Data should inform all aspects of your growth marketing programme including: Data-informed, not data-driven… Read more

  • 6 Speed over perfection

    A big part of marketing is getting something live, noticing how the market reacts, and then iterating to make it better based on what worked well (this process is the core tenant of the scientific method). That’s why following a regular cadence of launching new experiments is a critical step in improving everything about your… Read more

  • 7 Outside in v inside out

    A growth marketing strategy is a customer centric strategy Understanding customers and representing their voice within your organisation is perhaps the most important job of a marketing team. The antithesis to the HiPPO marketing approach of “just listen to your manager” is customer development and “just listen to the customer.” Deeply understanding your customer and… Read more